A doctor who has specialized training in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries:


Typical Years of Training for Sports Medicine Specialists:

Undergraduate 4 years
Medical School 4 years (MD/DO)
Residency 3 years (Family, Internal, ER medicine or Peds)
Fellowship 1-2 years
Total 12-13 year of training


Typical Medical School/Residency/Fellowship Hours:

Lecture Hours (pre-clinical) 2, 700
Study Hours (pre-clinical) 3, 000
Residency Hours 9,000-10,000
Fellowship Hours 2,500 – 7,500
Total 17,200 – 23,200

Table adapted from: What is a Sports Medicine Specialist? https://www.amssm.org/Content/pdf%20files/WhatisSMSpec-Patient-broch.pdf


Sports Medicine Physicians are required to pass a national Sports Medicine certification examination every 10 years in addition to maintaining board certification in their primary specialty (i.e. Family Medicine).  These demanding academic requirements, ensure that these Physicians have superior skills in the management of sport related injuries.


What are the Differences Between a Sports Medicine Specialist an Orthopedic Surgeon and a Physical Therapist?

All three groups are trained to handle a variety of musculoskeletal injuries. In general, Orthopedic Surgeons specialize in the operative management of sport related injuries.  Because nearly 90% of all sport related injuries do not require surgery, Sports Medicine Physicians are often the best providers to see initially to help guide you on the most efficient path to recovery.

Physical Therapists are commonly utilized and greatly appreciated by both Sports Medicine Specialists and Orthopedic Surgeons.  Physical Therapists are trained to help people rehabilitate from both non-surgical and surgical injuries. Additionally, they do a wonderful job in educating patients on how to decrease their risk for future injuries by teaching appropriate strengthening and stretching exercises.




What Kinds of Problems can Sports Medicine Specialists Manage?


As outlined above, Sports Medicine Physicians are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of musculoskeletal injuries.  Because most injuries will not require surgery, Sports Medicine Specialists can help facilitate recovery by prescribing physical therapy, braces/splints, and medications including injections.  Many of the doctors trained in Sports Medicine are also able to order and interpret X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and Ultrasounds. In the event that an injury does not respond to conservative measures, or is severe enough to warrant more immediate surgical intervention, Sports Medicine Physicians may refer patients to the appropriate Orthopedic Surgeon.


Dr. Tyler Wheeler is a Sports Medicine Physician at Family Practice Center.  He is available to see patients with a range of bone and joint related complaints both acute and chronic.  We have X-ray and ultrasound available on site as well as splints, boots and braces.  Dr. Tyler is also capable of preforming injections including therapies such as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)  and Stem Cell Injections.  He also has good relationships with Physical Therapists and Orthopedic Surgeons who he knows and trusts.  We are happy to offer this service to our patients and hope to get you back to the activities that you love as quickly as possible.